Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foxes and Bluebirds - a drama

For the last few weeks we have watched the antics of a family of red foxes in the field beside our home. A vixen and 7 kits!
It is like a National Geographic special. They romp and play, pounce and chase, and the vixen meticulously grooms each of the kits which they apparently enjoy immensely.
At the edge of this field is our bluebird house, and the male works hard to bring food to the female in the box, and also to drive off any interlopers – black birds, starlings, - anything that seems to threaten the welfare of his family.
Yesterday late afternoon saw a new development – an interface between fox and bird. The vixen was lying in the middle of the field with just her ears showing above the green of the wheat growing there. Suddenly she was attacked by both bluebirds – swooping within a hair’s breadth of her sharp teeth, and then returning to do the same over again and again. She finally got up and trotted slowly back into the woods.
What, we said to ourselves, was that all about?
We got our answer. The bluebird fledglings had left the nest. Their flying skills are very basic, and despite their frantic uncoordinated fluttering, they often crash into the lawn and would make a tasty little snack for a hungry fox.
Within a matter of hours they are much more accomplished flyers, although their short little tails, and still developing wings do not allow very long flights, so they sit on tree branches and immediately become invisible, while the parents, mainly the male, bring them their meals.
Two families – foxes and bluebirds – trying to survive.
Just one of the little dramas that takes place in the world of nature.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'll Rant If I Want To!

Weed b Gon, Roundup, and THE LAW
Weed B Gon concentrate is now available in Ontario! I would like to think my blog caused someone to get their head on straight, but that is wishful thinking.
Roundup concentrate is still banned in Ontario! (mixed product is available). I suppose another million or so large pump style plastic containers have been added to our garbage mountain - but hey - I am sure our beloved government knows what it is doing - right? Meanwhile, all accounts I have read about roundup class it as one of the very safest and eco friendly on the market!

A Rant
So Weedex is illegal in Ontario – I understand it is ok for golf courses and certain other facilities.
I look in my garden shed and see my now empty sprayer containers for Weed B Gon and Roundup. Both are still legal products here although Roundup is now class 7. Aha I say – I will buy concentrate and refill.
Roundup is an herbicide (kills everything) and Weed B Gon is a selective broadleaf weed killer.
I use roundup to keep weeds from growing on my patio deck and in my driveway. I use Weed B Gon to spot kill dandelions in the yard. Both are effective products!
Not so fast buddy – I cannot find concentrate.
My Email to Scotts (makers of Weed B Gon) inquiring about concentrate gets a response telling me that Weed B Gon is illegal in Ontario. I respond saying that is incorrect – it is in fact legal, but my question was where I can buy concentrate. The answer to that comes from a different person apologizing for the first response and telling me that the concentrate is not available. Ok!
A quick google tells me it is available in the US and is still showing on various Canadian store websites.
I decided to have a go at Roundup concentrate.
A young lady at Home Depot informed me firmly that Roundup is illegal. I challenged her on that and her response was “Whatever – we don’t have it”. Ok!
Home Hardware shows it in their website. I hurry myself off to the nearest store. Yes, they have roundup, and it is locked up in a display case. I am told there that Roundup is only for use on poison ivy and that Roundup concentrate is illegal.
We are recyclers and like to think that we are concerned about the environment and act responsibly. I have no problem with banning a product that has serious negative implications for our world.
Would someone please explain the logic to me in allowing the use of these products but banning the concentrate? If you say it is a marketing ploy I will understand. It has to be more profitable to sell thousands and thousands of expensively packaged solutions than to sell a concentrate that can be used in the old dispensers. Still, this is a government ban. Perhaps that is all that needs to be said.
The instruction on the containers tells you to wrap in newspaper and place in the garbage. Both Roundup and Weed B Gon also mention refilling the containers using their concentrates. That seems to say it is not a marketing ploy, so the responsibility rests with the all wise government.
I stand in the garden center and watch the various sizes of Weed B Gon flying off the shelves. The center can hardly restock the product quickly enough. The containers range up to 5 liters in size. It is not only the two products I have mentioned – there are dozens of other products in containers that cannot be reused.
The end result as far as I can tell is that very large numbers (Millions??) of sturdy plastic containers with various types of spray attachments – trigger sprayers and pump up sprayers and battery operated sprayers (for those who cannot pull a trigger or pump up a sprayer) will be dumped into our garbage!
Would you care to hazard a guess on what the life of the various plastics used would be?
Is the use of the words Government and Logic in the same sentence an oxymoron?

Oh yeah – I almost forgot – I was told that the reason we cannot buy concentrates is because the McGuinty Government (AKA the Granny Govt!) thinks we are all too stupid or evil (or both) to mix them properly! Duh!

Would it be too much to ask that the Govt. at least mandate the use of recyclable containers?